by Stefan Braun
When I first heard Haunter’s long awaited debut album Rivers and Rust, I drank a case of beer and used a sewing needle to tattoo a rowboat onto my roommate’s arm. Although I don’t recommend this to every first time listener, it seemed we were doing the album justice. It was the ideal soundtrack for a summer ripe with late nights, good times and bad ideas. The album invokes feelings of a prairie highway, a car filled with friends, the sun on your face, nothing in your head, no clear destinations in mind, but unlimited possibilities.
Those who have seen Haunter perform throughout the last five years will be familiar with many of the songs. The album features the bulk of their catalogue. Be prepared, though; Rivers and Rust showcases a Haunter you have never heard before. Throughout, lead singer Matt Williams sings poetically about friendship, romance, and poor decisions.
It has been no easy feat for the seasoned band to release this album. Years of discussion around content and production details preceded the actual recording process. According to Matt Williams, “I think if we didn’t sign to Disintegration Records, this album would probably have never come out. With five people in the band it’s incredibly difficult to agree on anything, let alone record an entire album.”
In April of 2012 Haunter went into the Prairie Recording Co. studio and recorded the bulk of their album in a manic two days with engineer Cam Loeppky. The album was complete after a few more days of vocal tracking and incorporating additions by Nathan’s Keri Latimer, Shannon Laliberte and Marti Sarbit and Rusty Matas (of Imaginary Cities) at Prairie Recording Co. and Argyle Studios. “It’s as if you were pregnant for five years and it’s finally out,” comments bassist Marie France Hollier.
The album kicks off with “July, 2005.” Featuring the anthemic urgency and natural delivery that has become the backbone of Haunter’s sound, this song will have you bouncing around in no time. Virtually every song is full of guitar heroics that perfectly negotiate the delicate tightrope between chaos and cliché. Two notable down tempo songs “Our War” (featuring Shannon Laliberte) and “Where I’m Calling From” (featuring Keri Latimer) bring a much appreciated perspective to the album as a whole. Aside from these two songs, the energy rarely abates in this eleven song album.
It may have taken nearly five years to put out their debut album but the band is already anxious to get back into the studio. “Rivers and Rust is such a concise album, I would love to write another album which is completely different,” says Williams. In August, following the album’ release, Haunter has plans for a western Canadian tour in support of the album. The tour will include stops in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and more. An east coast tour is also in the works.
Rivers and Rust will be available for purchase online or in compact disc form via Disintegration Records on June 27. Come down to the Windsor Hotel on June 27 for the release party featuring the reunion of Right Through and The Mystics. 10$ in Advance or 12$ at the door.